Easter disasters could well lead to Town losing Wickham

IPSWICH Town’s Easter disasters have seen them loosen their grip on 18-year-old hot-shot Connor Wickham.

Heavy and hurtful defeats by Norwich City and Swansea City have highlighted the gulf that still exists between the Blues and teams equipped to make a serious assault on gaining a Premier League place.

Town manager Paul Jewell is experienced enough at this level to appreciate what is needed to make an impact at Championship level having got both Bradford City and Wigan Athletic promoted.

It has been brought home to him that he needs strengthening all over the park from goalkeeper to front man – and this will cost more money that wealthy club owner Marcus Evans will be prepared to cough up.

The departure of one or two high profile players who are out of contract in the summer will not generate any transfer fees but will free up the wage budget.

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And Jewell will be looking to get transfers fees for players whose contracts take them into next season but are not of the calibre necessary.

But top strikers and proven Championship players don’t come cheap and this will have to be financed.

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With Evans unlikely to provide the �10million or so that might be required any Liverpool bid over �8million for Wickham, 18, will now have to be seriously considered.

Town are reported to be set to make a �2million bid for Peterborough’s Craig Mackail-Smith, but it may need a higher offer to prise the free-scoring front man away from London Road if the Posh are promoted from League One.

There is not good news on the injury front for Town fans ahead of the Preston visit with Wickham (rib), Jimmy Bullard (fluid on knee and shoulder knock), Gareth McAuley (groin strain) and Darren O’Dea (ankle) all doubtful.

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